UPDATE 30 October 2020


Dear friends,

Thank you very much to those who have signed our open letter to the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) protesting their endorsement of prison Close Supervision Centres (CRC). To those who have not yet signed, please do so as quickly as possible.

We want to keep everyone updated on the progress of this initiative which has now garnered signatures from more than 40 organisations as well as over 100 individuals including people in the field of psychiatry and other mental health practitioners. Other prominent individuals have also signed, such as Prof. Angela Davis, author and anti-racist campaigner Selma James, Prof. Benjamin Zephaniah and miscarriage of justice victim Winston Silcott.

We continue to seek more signatures and would be delighted to hear from you if you have ideas on how we can do so. Please do circulate it to your networks.

We are planning to end the signature drive in the next few days, and to present the letter to the RCP around the middle of November. We hope to coordinate the event with press and perhaps a webinar led by a man in our network who has himself suffered from solitary confinement. He has spoken out about its impact on him and is appealing to others to help end it:

Disorientation, Disillusion, and Demolition of the self. The past is still running after me, and it's scary. Solitary confinement works to destroy your sense of existence, of belonging, and of the meaning of life. The scar is left so deep in the mind that the consequences will be carried with me for the rest of my life.

Solitary confinement is an unequivocally cruel form of torture which strips both parties--torturer and tortured--of their humanity. There is no benefit to our communities and movements from such brutality. Putting people in solitary confinement cannot produce healthy relations of care and trust in our communities. Instead, it carves psychological scars on individual and collective levels This degrading treatment of humans must stop immediately so our resources and time can be re-invested in our communities to heal trauma and damaged souls. Let’s build lives, not cages. - Khalfan

We will keep you informed as we continue to press the RCP to end its endorsement of these racist and barbaric institutions.

Best wishes,

Niki Adams, Legal Action for Women

Sam Weinstein, Payday men’s network

PS for those who have not yet signed, you will find the letter below along with a link allowing you to see all signatories so far as well as a link allowing you to add your organization/name.


Protest Royal College of Psychiatrists endorsing prison segregation units

As networks that do work with women and men in prisons, we have been outraged to find out that the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) is “endorsing” Close Supervision Centres (CSCs), prisons within prisons, where human beings are kept in relative or complete isolation sometimes for years. We hope that after you read the letter below to the RCP, you will be as surprised and outraged as we are, and will add your organization/name to the signatories on the list demanding that the RCP withdraw any and all “enabling environment” accolades to CSCs.

Please sign here.

If you would like to talk to someone about this, please call Sam Weinstein at 07947609429.

Yours in solidarity,

Legal Action for Women

/ www.legalactionforwomen.net

Payday men’s network
payday@paydaynet.org. / www.refusingtokill.net / @PaydayRTK

PS: Please do not circulate this letter yet. We are only collecting initial signatories at this time, and will make the letter public in a few weeks, hopefully with your endorsement.

To: Dr. Adrian James and to whom it may concern at the Royal College of Psychiatrists:

We write to protest that the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) accredits Close Supervision Centres (CSCs) as "Enabling Environments"[1]. These are units within five prisons where prisoners are held in conditions described by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons as “most restrictive . . . with limited stimuli and human contact”[2].

We ask that you immediately withdraw this accreditation as it gives legitimacy to the type of treatment of prisoners that has been proven to cause grave psychological harm and is in breach of international law.

We of course write at a time of national crisis when people’s health and welfare, including that of prisoners, is of primary concern.

Evidence shows that “severe restriction of environmental and social stimulation has a profoundly deleterious effect on mental functioning” and that “psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture”.[3]

This level of confinement and deprivation of contact with other human beings in CSCs is comparable to “solitary confinement”. Prolonged solitary confinement is considered psychological torture[4] and is a breach of the United Nations Mandela Rules[5]. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture called for “an absolute prohibition” of “indefinite and prolonged solitary confinement in excess of 15 days”. Amnesty International has identified CSCs (formally SSUs) as “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”[6]

Despite evidence of the psychological harm caused by CSCs, the RCP has accredited some of these units as "Enabling Environments".[7]

The RCP describe “Enabling Environments”: as places where there is a focus on creating a positive and effective social environment and where healthy relationships are seen as the key to success”. Specifically, the RCP 2019 standards[8] for Enabling Environments include: “Everyone is supported to communicate in ways that enable them to be listened to and heard; There is support in place to help everyone feel emotionally safe; Engagement and purposeful activity is actively encouraged; The environment is outward-looking and open to learning.”

Compare this with accounts from prisoners who testify that “the brutality inflicted upon the prisoners within [CSCs] exceeds all other prison environments in the UK, and they cause the majority of its residents to develop major mental illness requiring treatment within the secure hospitals . . . ”[9] Other accounts [10] describe prisoners being confined to their cells for 24 hours a day, being fed through a hatch, guards being allowed to attack prisoners with impunity, food deprivation used as punishment, deliberate attempts to isolate prisoners from family and outside support, “psychologically calculated, tactical targeting and abuse” and a process of assessing risk that lacks any legitimacy where prisoners feel “there is no way out”.

In addition, prisons get annually “£100,000 per prison per CSC bed based on full occupancy”[11], considerably more than the cost per prisoner held in general population. There is thus a financial incentive for sending prisoners to CSC and keeping them there, and it throws doubt on the claim that these decisions are based on an assessment of the risk that prisoners pose.  You will also be aware of the background of prison systemic neglect of prisoners with mental health problems[12].  The tragic death of Sarah Reed[13] in Holloway Prison, a Black woman with mental distress who was even denied access to her usual prescription, is an example.  Why then, do you endorse that the CSCs operate in the way claimed?

We make particular reference to prisoner Kevan Thakrar (numberA4907AE) [14] who has been held in CSCs for 10 years continuously and whose conditions and treatment are an example of the institutionalized inhumanity of the regime.  Mr. Thakrar has for most of that time been restricted to his cell for 23 or more hours per day. He is prevented from communicating with other prisoners during this time and is deprived of adequate exercise, educational and work facilities, natural daylight and long-distance vision and adequate medical treatment – these are all factors which led Amnesty International to condemn CSCs as noted above.

The process within CSCs of assessing the risk prisoners pose and deciding on their continued confinement is arbitrary and lacking in transparency. For example, Mr. Thakrar is told that he is a “high risk” prisoner without any concrete written evidence for this and without being told what he needs to do to be released from CSC beyond the subjective stipulation that he must engage with the authorities.

In 2015, 25 of the 50 persons held in the CSC system were Muslim[15], including Mr. Thakrar, when Muslim people make up only under 5% of the population. An investigation was supposed to be conducted to find out why this is the case but no reason has been given and without any legitimate justification, it has to be assumed that racism is the cause. This means that the RCP is also endorsing a racist institution. We note the recent letter from more than 100 psychiatrists demanding that the RCP take the opportunity of the Black Lives Matter movement to “put its house in order and root out all examples of institutional racism and colonial mentality”.[16] One way of doing that would be to withdraw your support for CSCs and call for them to be shut down.

In Mr. Thakrar’s case there is evidence that he was put in CSC and is being kept there as an act of retribution by the prison system. Mr. Thakrar is a mixed-race man who was targeted by guards in a racist attack.  He was charged with attempted murder for defending himself from the guards but then unanimously exonerated by a jury[17]. He was put in CSC before that trial and has been held there ever since. One of the few written assessments that he has seen speak of him as being violent, as if he launched an unprovoked attack on guards, despite the fact that it was proven in court that he acted in self-defence. This gross distortion is used to justify his imprisonment as a “high risk” prisoner. If the CSC system provides no protection against arbitrary confinement, such as that which Mr. Thakrar is subjected to, then it has no legitimacy whatsoever.

Considering testimony from prisoners and evidence that the level of confinement and isolation in CSCs cause grave psychological harm and is in breach of international law, we the undersigned demand that the RCP urgently remove its "Enabling Environments" accreditation from any existing Close Supervision Centres within the prison estate.

Full list of signatures here


Niki Adams, Legal Action for Women

Victoria Childs, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, Psychotherapy and Counselling Union exec. committee member

Sam Weinstein, Payday men’s network



Abolitionist Law Center (USA)

Amistad Law Project (USA)

Anil, Black Lives Matter West London

Aaron Appel, Free People Strike (USA)

Aaron Appel. Sunrise Movement Philadelphia (USA)

Moya Atkinson, Social Workers and Allies Against Solitary Confinement (SWASC) (USA)

Paul Peuleve Baker, Ode to Earth/Echoes of Silence

Sarah Jane Baker, Trans Prisoner Alliance

Elio Beale, Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM)

Lubia Begum-Rob, Prisoners Advice Service

The Bent Bars Project

Mary Bricker-Jenkins, National Welfare Rights Union (USA)

Ken Bright, director, LIFE Progressive Services Group Inc (USA)

Sara Callaway, Women of Colour GWS

Eileen Chubb, Compassion in Care

Community Action on Prison Expansion

Dirk Corstens, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Intervoice (Netherlands)

Chris Coverdale, Make War History

Jen Daffin, Psychologists for Social Change Cymru

Luke Daniels, Caribbean Labour Solidarity

Yvonne Doornbos, Stichting Weerklank (Netherlands)

Deepa Govindarajan Driver, Momentum Camden

Niamh Eastwood, Release

Barry Esson, Arika

Selma James, Global Women’s Strike

Nicki Jameson, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism

Willow Katz, End Solitary Santa Cruz County, California (USA)

Andreya Garcia-Ponce De Leon, San Bernardino Free Them All (USA)

London Campaign Against Police and State Violence

Juliet Lyons, General Secretary, Psychotherapy and Counselling Union

Claude Marks, Freedom Archives (USA)

Beatrice Millar. Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility

Gloria Morrison, Joint Enterprise: Not Guilty by Association

Theresa Muldrow, Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (CADBI) (USA)

John O, Miscarriages of JusticeUK (MOJUK)

Northern Police Monitoring Project

Our Empty Chair

Prisoner Solidarity Network

Mary Ratcliff, San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper (USA)

Liba Ravindran, Anti-Oppression Circle

Lisa Roth, John Brown Anti-Klan Committee (USA)

Dr. Adnan Siddiqui, CAGE

Sisters Uncut Leeds

Liz Snook, Reclaim the Power

Siobhan Tierney, London Psychologists for Social Change

John Tymon, Football Against Apartheid

John Tymon, editor, The Palestinian

Patricia Vickers, Human Rights Coalition (USA)

Maru Mora Villalpando, La Resistencia (USA)

Adria Watson, Black Lives Matter London

Women and Non-Binary Association, University of Birmingham


Khalfan Al-badwawi, torture and solitary confinement survivor

Mehmet Atak (Turkey)

Desiree Banzhaf (USA)

Simon Barker

Mrs. Heulwen Baworowska, WinVisible

Mr. John Baxendale, Wealden Psychology Institute

Ms. Hattie Berger

Jacob Berkson

Craig Berman

Judy Black, RNC retired, Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church (USA)

Mr. Dick Blackwell, institute of Group Analysis, and Psychotherapy and Counselling Union

Dr. Nicolas Blondel

Mrs. Fran Brackley

Mr. Robin Brook

Terence Brown

Luke Buckler

Karpani Burns, Copy Editor, San Francisco Bay View Black National Newspaper (USA)

Mrs. Emilia Butlin

Mr. Cinaed De Canntun

Jimena Castro

Dr. Sofia Chanda-Gool, University of London

Dr. Marco Chiesa

Cllr. Tricia Clarke

Myra Clemens, Fascia! (USA)

Marisa Clements

Dr. Laura Connelly

Dr. Katie Cruz, University of Bristol

Tamsin Curno

Carol Fern Culhane, Moderator, Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration, Philadelphia, PA (USA)

Berry Daines

Professor. Sharon Daniel, University of California, Santa Cruz (USA)

Professor. Angela Y Davis (USA)

Ms. Una Doyle, National Education Union

Ms. Wendy Ebersberger (USA)

Sabrina Egger (USA)

Barbara Ellis

Dr. Harriet Evans, LSE

Patsy F, Volunteer at Crossroads and at a hospital

Suman Fernando

Sian Fletcher

Jonathan Fluxman, Doctors in Unite

Will Francome, filmmaker, director of In Prison My Whole Life

Miss Alice Gaffen

Maria Gallastegui

Ms. Denver Garrison, Public Health graduate

Ms. Miranda Gibbon

Dr. Bob Gill, general practitioner

Chris Gill

Dr. Charmian Goldwyn, Independent medical practitioner

Camilla Greene

Ben Griffin, ex-military anti-war activist

Barbara Gurley, Women of Color/GWS (USA)

Dr. Marta Guttenberg (USA)

Anne Hall, led a successful campaign to get her severely disabled son out of prison

Kathryn Harding

Mr. Abe Hayeem, Jewish Voice for Labour

Judy Hemmons

Ms. Abigail Harrison

Olof Hellen, Economic Justice supporter (USA)

Sophie Hemery

Dr.Hamideh Heydari

Owen Holland

Mrs. Roma Hooper OBE

Ms. Nina Houghton

Ms. Ros Howell, ADMP, BACP

Mrs. Alison Hughes

Ms. Danielle Hutton, Anti-Oppression Circle

Ms. Jacky Ivimy

Mr. Clarence Jackman

Truus Jansen, Chinese Medicine Practitioner, Tonify.Systems

Mr. Allen Jasson

Dr. Amy Jebreel

Dr. P Jeyapaul

Lissa Johnson, clinical psychologist (Australia)

Bob Johnson, MRCPsych, MRCGP, PhD

Ms. Jenny Jones

Ms Vanette Jordan-Lumogo (USA)

June Kelly (Ireland)

Dean Kendall (USA)

Libby Kerr, Psychotherapist

Mr James Kilgore, University of Illinois (USA)

Dean Kingham, Swain & Co Solicitors

Ms. Ann Korner

Ms. Hanneke Kosterink, Counsellor

Dr. Agnes Kory

Anand Kumria

Lorry Leader

Dianne Lefevre

Lanis Levy, Pact (Prison Advice & Care Trust)

Mr. Andrew Lisicki

Ruth London

Mrs. Marie Lynam, Labour Party individual initiative

Juno Mac

Mr. Paul Mackney, Former General Secretary of University and College Union

Joseph Maizlish, M.A. Clin. Psych., Marriage & Fam. Therapist (USA)

Ms. Natalia Martinez (Brazil)

Patrick McFadden

Gemma Mears (USA)

Mr. Mark Metcalf, Nuj

Dr. Alessandra Mezzadri

Mariposa McCall, MD, Psychiatrist (USA)

Mr. Philip McFadden, NHS

M. Montenegro, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (USA)

Dr. Lyndsey Moon

Rosemary Moore, Mental Magazine UK

Ms. P. M. Msimang

Mrs. Yolanda Navarrete (USA)

Mx. Pippa Nayer

Ms. Bethan Neale-McGovern, Southwark Law Centre

Zara Negusa Negast, ex-teacher

Flower Noble, Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement (USA)

Richard O'Keeffe, Caseworker, United Voices of the World

Ms. Morgan M. Page, writer

Ms. Bhavini Patel

Mrs. Diane Pearson

Ms. Naomi Pennington

Dr. Marcela Pizarro

Ms. Olivia Qasir

Dr. Seb Randall

Paradise Razma (USA)

Beverly Rice (USA)

Lisa Rigby

Giorgio Riva, ex-teacher and anti-poverty activist (Italy)

Mr. Peter Robbins

Maggie Ronayne, academic and trade unionist, National University of Ireland, Galway (Ireland)

Ms. Pauline Rowe, Unite the Union

Janna Safonova

Symran Saggar, student

Prof. Raphael Salkie, UCU

Clare Sambrook, Journalist

Ms. Una Sapietis

Milton Sattler

Ms. Liz Savage

Ms. Annie Sayer

Ms. Miriam Scharf, Newham Stand Up To Racism

Bob Schwartz (USA)

Ms. Sara J Scotland

Pauline Seales (USA)

Jenny Secretan

Mr. Winston Silcott

Ms. Natasha Sivanandan

Mr. Jeff Slominski

Anna de Sousa

Ella Spencer

Dr. Derek Summerfield, psychiatrist

Daniele Tamburlini (Italy)

Ms. P Tarrant

Ms. Shireen Tawil

Paula Terán-Prado (USA)

Jean & Atul Thakrar, parents of prisoner Kevan Thakrar

Dr. Philip Thomas

Thanos Tsapas, Consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy

Catherine Usiskin

Sebastiao Viola, MRCPsych consultant psychiatrist

Dr. Marion Vittitow

Mrs. Kengkeng Watt (USA)

Alan Wheatley

Peter Wickenden

Dr. Cathryn Wield

Mr. Steven Willett, Manchester & Warrington Area Quaker Meeting

Mx. Kai Wilson-Krause

Dr. Eric Windgassen, psychiatrist

Mr. Harry Woolner MSc Dip.couns

Dr Sandra Yeager (USA)

Prof. Benjamin Zephaniah, Brunel University



1.          Close Supervision Centre system

2.          Close Supervision Centres”. HM Inspectorate of Prison, August 2015

3.          Kenneth L. Faiver, Humane Healthcare for Prisoners, Ethical and Legal Challenges, p.111; H. Reyes, “The worst scars are in the mind: psychological torture”, Int Rev Red Cross 89: 591-617, 2007

4.          Psychology today: Solitary Confinement: Torture pure and simple

5.          UN Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisons (2015 Rev) ('Nelson Mandela Rules')

6.          Amnesty International: Special Security Units, Cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment

7.          The Butler Trust

8.          Enabling Environments Standards 2019

9.          Inside Time: The CSC Experiment

10.       Corporate Watch: Inside Britain’s Close Supervision Centres

11.       Deep Custody: Segregation Units and Close Supervision Centres in England and Wales

12.       Prison Reform Trust: Mental Health Care in Prisons

13.       The Guardian: My daughter was failed by many and I was ignored

14.       Mr. Thakrar is challenging his original conviction which was based on the discredited joint enterprise doctrine as well as double hearsay evidence among other irregularities (for more on his case, please go to https://justiceforkevan.org/).

15.       Deep Custody: Segregation Units and Close Supervision Centres in England and Wales

16.       The Guardian: Psychiatrists urge new leader to rid profession of institutional racism

17.       The Guardian: Frankland Prison has been found guilty